Day 9

Today we toured around to historical sites that related specifically to the students’ project. We started off by stopping by the capital building. The capital is currently located in Melekeok, not Korror. The reason for this is that Korror and Melekeok used to fight for power, each wanting to be the most powerful state of Palau. To allow equal grounds for the two, it was decided the capital would be in Korror for 50 years and then Melekeok for 50 years. We are just a few years into Melekeok’s term, so the capital is very pristine looking and since it’s new, is pretty high tech too.

Palau’s government is modeled after the US government, there are elected officials, a legislative and judicial branch, etc. However, unlike any us capital I’ve ever been in, the capital building in Melekeok is basically a museum of Palaun art. Each court room and all the hallways of the Judicial building are lined with art about Palau, by Palaun artists, it was better than a lot of museums.

One more interesting note about the judicial system in Palau; we noticed that there was a jury box in the court room, so we asked about juries and if it was like in the states where the potential jurors could not know the defendant, our guide laughed and said that would not be possible in Palau, everyone knows everyone (or is related for that matter), so yes the jurors do end up knowing the people on trial.

From the capital we headed to Badrulechan to view the stone monoliths. The stone monoliths are a component in the students’ design; they plan on having 8 monoliths (16 sides) to represent the 16 states of Palau. The monoliths carbon date to about 150AD and are thought to be the foundation structures to a massive bai (meeting house). It was very interesting to see structures of something so old and something the students had been reading about so long. Plus the view out there was gorgeous and there was also a gentle breeze, win + win!

From the monoliths we hopped on a boat to the stone quarry, where they mined for Yap money (the stone money beads that are common for women to wear). Also very interesting to see as it was such an old site and something we had only read about in books.

Then on the way home, it was swim time! It’s so fantastic that in Palau you can swim on your way to and from activities. Adora took us to this fantastic cave and another reef that had different colors of coral. Just another awesome day in Palau.

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